Horsethief Canyon Trail

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, California

Elevation Gain1,313ft
Trailhead Elevation6,658ft
Elevation Min/Max6658/7848ft
Elevation Start/End6658/6658ft

Horsethief Canyon Trail

Horsethief Canyon Trail is a hiking trail in Alpine County, California. It is within Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. It is 1.5 miles long and begins at 6,658 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is three miles with a total elevation gain of 1,313 feet. Along the trail there is a wood.

Horsethief Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The Horsethief Canyon Trail provides a little-used route up a narrow canyon alongside a tributary of the West Fork Carson River. Along the way hikers encounter lush riparian vegetation lining the creek and dry hillsides of light woodland on the slopes above.

The 6000-to 7000-foot elevations coupled with the rain shadow effect on the east side of the Sierra make this trip a fine choice for late spring or early summer when the high country remains buried under winter’s snowpack."

Horsethief Canyon Trail Reviews

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There's not much shade on this trail so bring plenty of water. Sometimes there's a swimming hole at the end but depending on when you go the water can be dried up. Parts of it are steep. If you don't like crowds you'll like this hike as it's not heavily trafficked, at least not when I've gone.
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Great trail along the creek. Fairly steep and rocky for more than the first half of the trail. The creek has many small tumbling falls through volcanic rock, so you hear the sound of water for much of the hike (I'm sure it has much more volume earlier in the spring/summer!). There are many spots along the trail to view volcanic monuments on the east side of the canyon, as well as peaks to the south. Hawkins Peak was dusted with snow from the previous weeks storm. NOTE regarding FS025: If you decide to hike through from Horsethief Canyon trail to FS025 down to Hwy 89 in Hope Valley, be aware that it's almost 10 miles, rising to just under 8400 ft in 4.2 miles (According to a book that my hiking companion referred to, it lists the entire hike as just over 6 miles!). But, it is well worth it! After hiking about a mile along FS025, there were slopes covered with aspens in full Fall color. Fantastic views of distant peaks to the south. Not to mention the beautiful geology that the Sierra's are known for. Down the other side toward Hope Valley, the Fall color views were also spectacular with the sun glinting off of the Carson river as it winds through the valley.
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This trail always kicks by butt. It starts out steep and rocky with a switchback until you get into the canyon. Then its just uphill. There is a lot of spots where you can stop an rest if you need to. The stream is nice to go cool off in. And I actually drank the water from it and it was fine. The day I went there is a barb wire fence at the top, with a make shift gate that was closed. No signage or nothing telling why. I have an e-mail in with Ca BLM to ask them. Killer trail though, hope you like the pics.

Horsethief Canyon Trail Photos

Trail Information

Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Nearby City
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at 775-882-2766,
Local Contacts
USGS 7.5-minute Freel Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018